David Trimble not the first great Irishman to have been betrayed by the British

A letter from Dr Gerald Morgan:

Monday, 29th November 2021, 12:14 pm
Updated Monday, 29th November 2021, 12:32 pm
The Island of Ireland peace park in Messines, seen in 2017. Dr Morgan was privileged to meet David Trimble there in November 1998

With regard to the book extract of a chapter by David Trimble, which was carried in the weekend News Letter (‘I feel betrayed by the Northern Ireland Protocol, which rips out the heart of the 1998 Belfast Agreement,’ November 27, see link below):

I begin to wonder how many on the island of Ireland today are dedicated to a true peace and reconciliation rather than victory in a century-long struggle for domination.

Lord Trimble writes with an authority beyond anything that I can match but I too would like to have my say.

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Letter to the editor

Many honourable people on the island of Ireland, many of them at the cost of their own lives, have addressed themselves to our seemingly intractable Irish dilemma.

In 1985 I spoke out in public for the first time in opposition to the Anglo-Irish Agreement.

That too was based upon a British betrayal of the Ulster Unionists. Perhaps Margaret Thatcher in Finchley had been unnerved by the Brighton bombing of October 12 1984.

What politician would not have been unnerved? That was surely the purpose of such a bomb and it got very close to her. And she was a woman after all. Perhaps Arlene Foster can enlighten us as to how she must have felt.

Had I realised how much pain speaking out would bring to the wife and children I loved, believe me I would not have uttered a single word. It transformed the lives of us all. But here in 2021 we still struggle for peace and reconciliation.

On November 10 1998 I was speaking at Loker/Locre in Belgium in honour of Willie Redmond on behalf of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers Association in the company of my son Sam (Charterhouse) and Dr Margret Fine-Davis of Trinity College Dublin. The following day we were at the Island of Ireland Peace Park in Mesen/Messines where we were privileged to shake the hand of David Trimble.

Like Eamon de Valera, David Trimble is a great Irishman.

The British have ennobled Lord David Trimble as they knighted Sir John Pentland Mahaffy, Provost of Trinity, in 1918. With the British this is almost inevitably a prelude to betrayal.

They give a bauble before sacrificing things more precious than life itself.

Lord Trimble feels betrayed because he has been betrayed.

He is not the first great Irishman to have been betrayed by the British and I doubt whether he will be the last.

Dr Gerald Morgan, Fellow, Trinity College Dublin

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